Is Nikola Jokic on His Way to Complete the Mamba Mentality Challenge Issued by Kobe Bryant?

Published 05/19/2021, 3:30 PM EDT
DENVER, CO – OCTOBER 29: Nikola Jokic (15) of the Denver Nuggets becomes frustrated while speaking to Jamal Murray (27) during the second half of the Nuggets’ 116-111 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, October 29, 2018. The Denver Nuggets hosted the New Orleans Pelicans at the Pepsi Center. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


As the regular season has come to a close, the debate now stands on who will win the MVP. Although Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, and Giannis Antetokounmpo have put up some incredible numbers, Nikola Jokic is the favorite to land the title. The ‘Joker’ is one of the best playmaking centers the league’s history. He has already registered 10 plus assists in 88 games, which is more than any center in the league’s history.

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Significantly, Kobe Bryant has been issuing the #MambaMentality Challenges since 2017. He would tweet a challenge to the players as they tried to achieve their goals. He offered his last challenge in 2019 to Jokic in a bid for him to become the MVP.

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Kobe Bryant’s #MambaMentality challenge for Jokic

The Serb has been one of the most consistent players in the league ever since he got drafted in 2015. Notably, he is regarded as one of the best playmaking centers in the league. Steve Nash commented on how Jokic deserved to win the MVP this season.

“Clearly, (Nikola) Jokic is the MVP this year.

“He’s kind of gone wire-to-wire at this high level. He makes his teammates better and everything go. They lose Jamal Murray and they haven’t really skipped a beat. That shows how good he is,” said Nash.

Apr 7, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) looks to shoot the ball over San Antonio Spurs forward Drew Eubanks (14) in the fourth quarter at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Moreover, with Jamal Murray out with a knee injury, the ‘Joker’ has stepped up in making the Nuggets competitive in the league. The Denver Nuggets finished the season in third place with a win-loss record of 47-25 because of Jokic’s incredible performances on the court. Notably, Kobe issued these challenges to motivate these players to perform at the highest level.

Can Nikola Jokic win the MVP award this season?

Joel Embiid is another player in contention to win the award. He has become a potent offensive threat for the Philadelphia 76ers. However, Nikola Jokic has taken up the mantle to become the league’s best player. He averages around 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 8.3 assists per game. This shows how he is one of the elite centers in the league.

Never in the NBA has there has been a center that has the vision of Nikola Jokic. Some of his passes are extraordinary by hitting the target with pinpoint accuracy.

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Likewise, his languid style of play often makes it deceiving for the opposition defenders. The great Zach Randolph is a player who comes to your mind when we see his post moves. Losing Murray was an enormous loss to the franchise. But, Nikola Jokic has proved his doubters wrong and provided the league with some incredible performances.

Even though Stephen Curry has set the league on fire, it would be daylight robbery to deny Jokic the league MVP. We haven’t seen a dominant playmaking center like him and the Denver Nuggets will hope that he carries his form into the playoffs, and help them win their first NBA title.

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Jacob Gijy

116 articles

Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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